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Business group releases study showing benefits of expanding Visa Waiver Program

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December 18, 2014, 8:17 am

The Partnership for a New American Economy on Monday released a new study showing how expanding the Visa Waiver Program to six new countries – Brazil, Hong Kong, Israel, Poland, South Africa, and Turkey – would result in $7.66 billion additional spending and 50,000 American jobs within five years.

partnershiplogo“Tourism is such an important part of Colorado’s economy,” states Mary Motsenbocker, President of International Tourism Marketing based in Englewood, Colorado. “Expanding our Visa Waiver Program to just six new countries would have a massive impact on Colorado’s economy. Allowing more people to enjoy our great cities and beautiful natural resources would result in a real economic boost for Colorado.”

“The numbers that this study puts forward would result in real dollars added to Colorado’s economy and real jobs for our citizens,” adds Kevin Burns, Mayor of Dillon, Colorado. “This is another common sense solution that would have tangible benefits to Colorado’s $17.3 billion tourism industry and help Colorado’s economy continue to thrive.”

The Partnership also released a new ad in its series highlighting the need for immigration reform across broad sectors of the economy. This ad showcases the role of international tourists as significant revenue generators and American job creators.

The ad, which premiered Monday, will play in the following locations:

  • Washington D.C. taxis
  • Washington D.C. airports
  • Movie theatres in 8 key congressional districts
  • On Facebook and Twitter

Key findings from the report include:

  • The Visa Waiver Program has a meaningful impact driving increases in U.S. tourist volumes. Our analysis found that when a typical country joins the Visa Waiver Program, it sees a notable increase in the number of tourists who chose to visit the U.S. in the immediate years that follow. Over the course of its first five years in the program, the number of tourists arriving from a participating country rises by 16.4 percent.
  • If a handful of trusted countries currently being evaluated for membership in the Visa Waiver Program were to gain entry in 2015, the impact on U.S. tourism volumes would be sizeable. If just six countries—Brazil Hong Kong, Turkey, Israel, South Africa, and Poland—were to gain entry into the Visa Waiver Program in 2015, more than 600,000 additional travelers from those countries would visit America in the year that followed. Between 2015 and 2019, an estimated 1.7 million more residents of these areas would arrive in the U.S. as tourists than would have otherwise.
  • Expanding the Visa Waiver Program would support our economy and create valuable jobs. Expanding the Visa Waiver Program to the six countries outlined above would result in $7.66 billion in additional tourist spending within a five-year period. It would also create at least 50,000 American tourism jobs within five years.

Read the full report, “Passport to Future Economic Growth: How Expanding the Visa Waiver Program Will Strengthen the U.S. Economy and Create American Tourism Jobs,” here.

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